FCPA Compliance and Ethics Blog

January 19, 2011

Being a Great (Compliance) Leader

Filed under: Leadership — tfoxlaw @ 9:03 pm
Tags: ,

In the most recent issue of the Harvard Business Review, writers Linda Hill and Kent Lineback posed the question, “Are You a Good Boss – Or a Great One?” In this article they explore what they believe to be some of the imperatives of going from a good boss to a great boss. Recognizing that the focus of the article is to help people grow as leaders within their businesses; we believe that their ideas have application in the compliance arena. We will therefore review the article with a emphasis on helping employees to become great compliance leaders – whether you measure compliance through the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA); UK Bribery Act or any other standard.

Hill and Lineback begin with the thesis that most managers underestimate the transformational nature of the challenge of their roles as company leaders. To be a great leader a person must be dynamic and not complacent. If a leader stops growing and improving they run the risk of becoming a terrible boss. The authors believe that most managers stop working on themselves at some point in their career. Many managers are afraid of failure and this leads to a fear of change. Others do not receive proper training or support from their companies. Whatever the cause, the authors believe that most managers stop making progress because “they simply don’t know how to.” Even when there is adequate company support for change, it is sometimes difficult to know what is required to become an effective manager.

To aid such persons, the authors have developed what they term the “3 imperatives” to help managers on their “journey to becoming great bosses.” These imperatives are (1) Manage Yourself; (2) Manage Your Network; and (3) Manage Your Team. We will review  these and reference how they apply to being a great compliance leader.

Manage Yourself

The authors believe that most employees ask “Can I trust this person?” Leadership results, in large part, by the answer to this question. The authors state that trust has two components; the first is that the leader has confidence in his or her own competence; and the second is that employees have trust in the manager’s character. This means that your motives are good and that you want people to do well. If these characteristics are present a manager should be able to influence others.

Manage Your Network

The authors believe that building key relationships throughout an organization leads to the road for success. This means nurturing a broad network of company employees who can influence specific areas and the departments within a company. As scarce resources must be reckoned with on any project, the person who can show the interdependence of seemingly disparate groups, which may have conflicting goals and priorities, is the manager who achieves the most. This relationship building can be a key way to influence others within an organization over which a manager does not have direct control.

Manage Your Team

The authors believe that managing a team is a different dynamic than managing one-on-one. If a manager can influence a team, they have a greater chance of success as employees tend to be more creative and productive when working in groups. Accountability to other team members and a genuine convict that they are all in it together can lead to a group coalescing into a team. The culture of any team is important: values, standards and norms guide employees in what is expected of them. Attention must be paid to all team members and recognition for individual efforts within the team can bring greater effectiveness as well.

To be a great compliance leader, the compliance professional must use all of these techniques. To achieve many compliance goals within a company requires a manager to exert a great amount of influence. The techniques set out by the authors provide direct tools for the compliance professional to utilize in this task. Managing employees within any compliance department is the first step. A compliance professional must reach out across an organization to all groups and departments to develop relationships which can be used in furthering a company’s compliance goals. The foundation of this strong network is created by a compelling team. A strong network will allow your compliance team a path to achieve its goals within the company. But knowing where you are going is only half of the journey. The authors end with the admonition that “you need to know at all times where you are on the journey and what you must do to make progress.”

This publication contains general information only and is based on the experiences and research of the author. The author is not, by means of this publication, rendering business, legal advice, or other professional advice or services. This publication is not a substitute for such legal advice or services, nor should it be used as a basis for any decision or action that may affect your business. Before making any decision or taking any action that may affect your business, you should consult a qualified legal advisor. The author, his affiliates, and related entities shall not be responsible for any loss sustained by any person or entity that relies on this publication. The Author gives his permission to link, post, distribute, or reference this article for any lawful purpose, provided attribution is made to the author. The author can be reached at tfox@tfoxlaw.com.

© Thomas R. Fox, 2011


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